10 Our Dumb Animals 1 (1877-1878)

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                                         I  would   not  enter  on  my   list of friends,
                                         Though graced with polished manners and fine sense,
                                         Yet wanting sensibility, the man
                                         'Who needlessly sets foot upon a worm. - Cowper.


Vol. 10.                                            BOSTON, JUNE, 1877.                                                              No. 1.


              The Wounded  Hare.
  Inhuman man ! curse on thy barbarous art;
  And  blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;
    May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,
  Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart!
  Go, live, poor wanderer of the wood and field,
  The  bitter little that of life remains;
  No  more the thickening brakes and verdant plains
  To thee shall home, or food, or pastime yield.
  Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,
  No  more of rest, but now thy dying bed!
  The  sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head,
  The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.
  Oft as by winding Nith, I, musing, wait
  The  sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn,
  I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn,
  And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate.
                                -Robert Burns.

       'The.Moral Aspects of Vivisection.
    By FRANCES POWER COBBE. Pamphlet, pp. 24.
  An  article with the above title appeared in the
London   Quarterly Magazine   last year, and
has since been reprinted in Philadelphia, that it
may  have a wider circulation. We commend   its
careful reading to all who desire to see the moral
side of this question ably stated. The name of
the writer is a sufficient guarantee of high intel-
ligence, entire independence, and of the most
earnest purpose.   We  give brief extracts, but
enough  to awaken  the thoughtful consideration
of the subject by such of our readers as may have
to meet the question in any form.
   While our legislation tends to an almost ex-
cessive lenity towards criminals; while our art
and  our letters become yearly more  and more
refined and fastidious; while our manners grow
more  uniformly  courteous towards all classes;
and while, in a very special manner, we are begin-
ning to take a new interest in the intelligence and
affections of the lower animals, and to visit their
cruel treatment with condign punishment-in the
midst of all this humanizing process we suddenly
find a break, a pause, nay, a very decided retro-
grade  movement.   It is at least fitting that we
should inquire into the meaning of this strange
and startling phenomenon.  . .  .


   If any men may claim to be more than others,
the representatives of the period, in the ' foremost
files of time,' it is our men of science. Whether
the rest of mankind will hereafter meekly follow
in their mental track, yet remains to be seen; but
it is certain that no statesmen, no divines, no
metaphysicians, offer themselves at the present
day with so high pretensions to become our Moses
and  Aarons, and  to lead us-it  may  be  into
Canaan,  it may be into a wilderness. What  is
done, thought, felt, by the men of science, is of
almost  incalculable weight in determining the
proximate   tendencies of thousands  of lesser
spirits-the direction to be taken by all those
innumerable minds which  have no motor force of
their own, but follow the Zeit Geist whitherso-
ever he goeth.  A peculiar and abnormal mani-
festation of sentiment among the scientific class,
or even of a certain small section of it, is, there-
fore, quite otherwise significant than the rise of a
sillv or cruel fashion among the jeunesse dore of
the clubs and the race-course, or the prevalence
of an idle delusion in certain urban coteries. . . .
   As the writer of a most admirable letter, bear-
ing the well-known signature of ' Lewis Carrol,'
published in the ' Pall Mall Gazette,' Feb. 12th,
expressed it: ' What can teach the noble quality
of mercy, of' sensitiveness to every form of suffer-
ing, so powerfully as the knowledge   of what
suffering really is ? Can the man who has once
realized by minute study  what the nerves are,
what  the brain is, and what waves of agony the
one  can convey to the other, go forth and wan-
tonly inflict pain on any sentient being P A little
while  ago we  should have confidently replied,
 He cannot do it. In the light of modern reve-
lations we must   sorrowfully confess he can.'
Again, in a still more marked way  the acts of
the vivisectors are anomalous and out of character.
It is the boast of the school of science to which
they belong that it has exploded the old theory
that man  was unique in creation, with a higher
origin than the brutes, and a different destiny.
They  give us to understand that God has 'made
of one blood' at least all the Mllammalia 'upon
earth.' Not merely our purely corporal frames,
but thought, memory.  love, hate, hope, fear, and
even some  shadowy  analogues of conscience and
religion, have been traced by the great thinker
and  truly tender-hearted man  at the head  of
this school, throughout the lower realms of life
upon this planet; and, in the eyes of most culti-
vated and thoughtful persons in these days, the


claims of a dog, an elephant, a seal, or a chim-
panzee, to consideration and compassion, are at
least as high as were those of a negro a century
ago in the eyes of a Jamaica planter. To find a
number  of men   of science-disciples, it is be-
lieved, almost without exception, of the doctrine
of evolution--themselves pursuing, and teaching
their pupils to pursue, trains of physiological
investioations involving unutterable sufferino to
these same ' poor relations ' of our human family,
is an appalling phenomenon.  . .  .
    Of the argumentative defences of vivisection,
more must be said. The chief, I think, is a double-
barrelled instrument, aimed  at our selfishness
(under the grandiloquent name  of the benefit of
the human  race) on  the one side, and our bad
conscience as regards various kinds of cruelty on
the other. The  latter, or tu quoque argument,
which  was set forth at large in a semi-jocose
pamphlet by the assistant of M. Schiff, and pub-
lished in Florence under the name of ' Gli Ani-
mali Martiri,' refers us with a sneer to the cruel-
ties of the chae and the shambles, and asks us
whether, in a world where such things are done
from the very lowest motives, it is worth while to
dispute a few victims for those sacred altars of
science which form the furniture of physiological
laboratories. This answer to this appeal is not
far to seek. One offence does not exculpate an-
other, even if both be morally upon  the same
level. But all other cruelties have some excuse
in the ignorance or stupidity of those who inflict
them, while those of the physiologist alone bear
the treble stigma of being done in the full light of
knowledge, by singularly able men, and with the
calmest forethought and deliberation. And while
every kind of cruelty is falling into disrepute, if
not into disuse, this alone is rising almost into
the rank of a profession, like a superior sort of
butchery.  As to the argument  that it does not
become  people who eat animal flesh to demur to
the torture of' animals, it would have seemed as if
no one with common-sense  could have employed
it, had we not found it repeatedly brought for-
ward  by the pro-vivisectors as if it possessed
withering force. The cattle we use for food exist
on the  condition that we shall take their lives
when  we need them;  and in doing so in the ordi-
nary, not unmercifil manner, we save them  the
far worse miseries of old age and starvation. To
kill a creature quickly, is one thing; to cause it
to suffer torture which shall make its existence a
curse, is quite another matter.


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